So while my two older children waived goodbye to Elijah and I at the start of their new school year, at school, I wondered what our first day of homeschool with our 5year old would be. Our prior three years of homeschool with the older two, taught me that too much worry and fuss is not so desirable in creating a learning environment at home. I had so much fun planning and thinking about the Fun, Filling and Freeing learning and living life, I wanted to encourage at home with Elijah. I did much of the recalibration into homeschool mindset during our summer vacation. I reminded myself of who Elijah is, what he enjoys and makes him come alive, as well as where he is at developmentally.
I also recalled my favourite homeschool learning reads and other ideas like Reggio Emilia inspired learning.
I love when creativity and discovery, are founded on solid foundations in learning and character building. I love finding the gems in learning rather than being fixated with a rigid set of outcomes. I want to be as deliberate as I can be with this new school year, but build from a place of refreshing rest and delightful wonder.
I had planned to start off our first day with some playtime while discussing “Obedience”, but as soon as we got home from dropping off the older two at school, Elijah, having spotted a solar system kit on the top shelf, announced that he wanted to begin with that instead. A good indicator of what may become other future well thought plans. Deep breath….and then…go with the flow! Start where he is at!
I yielded to the rabbit trailing on learning lane, and what emerged was a rich morning of building, painting, reading, discussion and learning about the bigger picture, the solar system that God made. Hands on activities sandwiched with reading and books, and discussion. The key for me was letting go of my plans in order to allow real organic learning to spread its wings. Something I intend to hug like a new friend.
Taking rabbit trails is not a waste of time if you can see the learning opportunities along your way. This happened so much during today as shown above with math concept in size and measurement filtering into his science project.
Aah, the joy of completing something that was his idea. So empowering and affirming, an encouragement to take initiative and the rewards then become his and not the teacher’s. Yes to empowering my kids!
We will be spending a lot of time outdoors for as long us the weather permits. Not only is it beautiful and refreshing to be outdoors, but I think when nature becomes a teacher, it’s like no other. How else do I get to see what captures this curious learner’s attention, and I get to enjoy what he enjoys.
I hope to keep our homeschooling this year as a shared experience of exploring, attending and beholding ideas, and things that are alive, full of life and worth discovering.
Of course things like Math, and Language Arts will be encouraged, but not in the dry, linear, and worksheet driven practice, but always looking at building from where Elijah is at, what can be made concrete and meaningful. Like counting how many steps there were on this side of the nature centre and concluding that the southern steps where more than those on the eastern side.
I am realistic enough to know that not everyday will look like today but today really captured the sort of natural and joyful learning that I know is possible and will keep me absolutely sane. Otherwise what is the point of homeschooling if it becomes disconnected from what home is all about: love and connection.